Jean, Wyclef : Masquerade

Tears of the hip-hop clown

Wyclef‘s third solo outing takes the form of radio station 93.1 FM, inspired by 9/3/01, the day his father died in a freak accident. Clef‘s splendid embrace of the absurd is still in place (check ‘What’s Up Pussycat’, with Tom Jones), but ‘Masquerade’ can’t help but be his most meditative album yet. It’s also his best and, with joints like ‘Daddy’ ([I]”never imagined I’d be the one carrying the coffin”[/I], etc), his most personal.

If you need guns’n’bitches in your hip-hop, you already know where to look. Warmth, wit and a timeless blend of songwriting styles are a little rarer, and they’re Wyclef‘s business.

‘Masquerade’ is a mighty, ego-free album that doesn’t need to shout to be heard.

Peter Robinson